With one week left until the House and Senate must negotiate on a compromise between the two pending transportation bills, the DRIVE Act and the Surface Transportation Reauthorization & Reform Act (STRRA), our infrastructure’s future continues to take center stage.
ASCE and a group of 39 other transportation groups and unions wrote a letter to the House and Senate surface transportation conference committee in support of a five-year highway and transit bill that will increase investment levels. They noted that, “While the reliability of future federal highway and public transportation funds is a critical benefit of a multi-year reauthorization bill, such predictability alone is not sufficient to drive needed surface transportation improvements.”
When it comes to predicting the future of our nation’s infrastructure, many wonder what that will look like. Articles in Forbes, DCInno and Athens Banner-Herald emphasized the need to not only invest in infrastructure, but to think strategically about how and where investment should be made. Will the rise of smart cars (autonomous vehicles) play into how we invest in our infrastructure? While questions like this can only be hypothesized, these articles suggest the importance of considering how technological advancements will impact our infrastructure needs down the line when planning funding. Infrastructure trends featured in #GameChangers are examples of how innovation is changing the way infrastructure is designed and built and can help us better envision the future.
While projections of our nation’s future infrastructnure landscape have marked this week’s headlines, these ideas cannot get too far without a stable, federal funding source. Hopefully Congress can compromise on a bill that provides increased funding to give states the certainty they need to ot just maintain but modernize our nation’s infrastructure.